“Like-Gated” Promotions No Longer Permissible on Facebook
Last week, Facebook, Inc. (“Facebook”) announced a major upcoming change, effective November 5, 2014, to its Platform Policies that will affect the vast majority of promotions run on the platform. The announcement introduces a significant restriction on use of the “Like” functionality in connection with promotions (including sweepstakes and contests). Facebook stated its intention is to “ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them” and that it “want[s] people to like [pages on Facebook] because [people] want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives.” [i] Specifically, the following previously permitted practices are no longer allowed as of November 5th:
- “Like-gating” an app (i.e., requiring that an individual “like” a certain page on Facebook before he/she may access an app); or
- Otherwise offering a reward (e.g., a promotion entry or some other tangible or intangible benefit) to incentivize an individual to “like” a page on Facebook. This means that your app for a contest, for example, cannot require users to “like” your page on Facebook before they can access the entry form for the contest.
Marketers may still incentivize individuals to log-in to an app (without requiring that the individual “like” the app), check-in at a place (e.g., by offering a coupon for use at the establishment), or enter a promotion (i.e., by offering a prize in a promotion conducted via a sponsor page on Facebook). This change does not affect other aspects of the Pages Terms that govern promotions. The Pages Terms still provide that promotions may be administered directly via a sponsor page on Facebook or within an app and may not be administered via personal timelines.
[i] Along with the prohibition on “like-gating”, Facebook also announced that “[g]ames which include mandatory or optional in-app charges must now disclose this in their app's description, either on Facebook or other platforms it supports. . . to give people a clear indication that [a] game may charge people during gameplay.”